By Matt Wickstrom, Kentucky.com
WINCHESTER, Ky. — For one Central Kentucky native, a career in the publishing industry has led to entrepreneurial adventures into the art of brewing as the owner of Abettor Brewing Co., the first brewery in Winchester.
That journey has paid off for not only him, but the city as well.
Abettor Brewing Co., pronounced “A Better,” officially launched on April 12, 2019, and currently features 20 beers on tap, 10 of which are Abettor originals.
Unlike most other breweries, Montgomery says that Abettor’s flagship beers are determined by sales and consumer feedback rather than the brewery trying to push particular concoctions.
“I don’t want to make good beer, I want to make great beer,” said Montgomery. “I want to make ‘Abettor’ beer.”
How Abettor Brewing Co. Began
The journey began for Tyler Montgomery in 2012, when a publication he was consulting at suggested he launch a website to share his passion for the brewing process. The site, Brewer, quickly found success and began putting out a quarterly magazine in the fall of 2014 that now publishes bi-monthly, circulating nationally and reaching close to 7,000 decision makers in the industry.
Since launching Brewer Magazine, Montgomery has traveled the country talking to brewers and sharing their perspectives into what they do through the magazine. In fact, it was on one of these adventures where the seeds were planted that would later blossom into Abettor.
The vision of the brewery was first conjured up in late 2015 during a talk with Adam Avery, co-founder of Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Col. The two were at Pazzo’s Pizza Pub chatting for a short story in an upcoming issue of Brewer when Avery began asking Montgomery about Winchester and if the town had a brewery. When Montgomery said no Avery doubled down and encouraged him to be the first to get involved. At the time Mongtomery had just started to experiment with homebrewing, so Avery suggested beginning work on a small scale and perfecting the process before leveling up.
“(Avery) gave me the idea and I began exploring how to make it happen that same week,” Montgomery said, jokingly adding “It was all his idea.”
Finding A Home
After nearly three years of hunting Montgomery bought a quaint, 1940s era building on Lexington Ave. coming into downtown Winchester on April 1, 2018. Previously an auto repair shop, office supply shop and pharmacy, the building was completely gutted and renovated including removing four drop ceilings, adding a second restroom, fixing electric and A/C, and installing retractable garage doors that open the taproom into an inviting patio during warm weather.
“I think I researched every building in downtown Winchester looking for the right fit,” said Montgomery. “I even looked at a place in Mt. Sterling before realizing that my heart is here.”
Staples at the brewery include Pale8, an American Pale Ale with citra and chinook hops and a secret local ingredient; Blue Eyed Blonde, an American Blonde Ale with cascade hops and fruited with blueberries; and Raspberry Wheat, a Belgian Wheat with cascade hops and fruited with raspberry.
While Abettor’s flagship beers aren’t hand-picked by management, it’s other 10 brews on tap are, largely stemming from stops Montgomery has made throughout the country to breweries he is working on for the magazine. Two of Montgomery’s favorites from abroad often found on tap inside Abettor include a Canadian Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Sunlight Cream Ale from Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis.
In addition to having a diverse lineup of beers Abettor also features a lineup of signature cocktails like the “White Girl Russian” featuring house made chai syrup and “Kentucky Mule” with Old Forester bourbon curated by taproom manager John Howard. The brewery is even in the early stages of collaborating with Wildcat Willy’s, a recently opened farm-to-table restaurant and farm-to-bottle moonshine distillery, for a beer.
“We’ve tried to make the brewery about more than just the beer,” said Montgomery. “We’ve tried to make it an experience. Winchester has never had this before so we wanted to embed the city and Clark County’s culture into everything we do, from selling returnable Ale 8 bottles to using local beer cheese and hops from nearby Boyd’s Bottom Farm.”
Aside from bringing the community together over a pint, Abettor also hosts live music intermittently and food trucks Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings along with Questionable Activities Trivia on Thursday nights and themed trivia coming soon to Sundays. The brewery also hosts first responder and teacher appreciation nights every Tuesday featuring growler specials and $8 flights, doing what they can to give back to a community that’s welcomed them with open arms.
“Right now I’m focused on making the best beer that we possibly can, making our customers happy and creating an environment that’s fun, friendly and enjoyable for everyone in the town of Winchester,” said Montgomery. “Currently the town is known for Ale 8. Maybe in 40 years it’ll be known for Abettor.”
View a full gallery of photos from Abettor Brewing Co. along with a short video featuring owner Tyler Montgomery – all by Herald-Leader staff photographer Ryan C. Hermens – and read the original story at Kentucky.com.
Abettor Brewing Co.
Where: 301 West Lexington Ave. in Winchester 40391
Hours: 3-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 3-8 p.m. Sunday, Closed Monday
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